Angela claimed that she had forgiven her wayward husband, but I had a hunch that hers had been a surface–only forgiveness and that her depression was the result of buried feelings of hostility toward her unfaithful husband.After the affair Angela determined to go on as though nothing happened and be a “hero of God’s grace.” She kept a stiff upper lip in their church circle and was viewed as a paragon of virtue.In her heart, however, Angela was dying a slow death.Stuart seemed appreciative of her quick forgiveness—after all, that was his style too: His slogans of “Move on,” “Get over it,” and “Don’t look back” helped him to soon forget it too.But when Angela finally expressed her rage and began to struggle toward forgiveness on the basis of her true feelings, instead of denial, she was able to approach forgiveness.In effect, she was moving toward forgiveness right through her anger, not by going around it.He dropped his illicit relationship and arranged for his secretary to be transferred to a distant office, and she resigned rather than move. Little did he know that a growing depression was engulfing his wife and beginning to affect her health.
When Angela chose to forgive her husband, Stuart knew it was for real this time, and he could therefore begin to grieve his losses.
Remember, forgiveness is a process; all the characteristics of genuine forgiveness will not always be present, but they should become increasingly apparent along the journey.
An entangled affair is always the result of an intimacy deficit in the marital relationship.
Whatever personalized components there are in the message of this affair, it still boils down to a loss of intimacy before the affair occurred.
Part of the lure of the affair for an unfaithful spouse was the opportunity to be himself (herself) in his own little private world that he constructed with the partner.